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26 Apr 2018 2:36
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Sterling challenges Eels to defy history

    Parramatta legend Peter Sterling isn't giving up on the Eels just yet, challenging the NRL cellar dwellers to dig in after a dire none-from-six start to 2018.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Parramatta great Peter Sterling has challenged the Eels to "defy history" and become the first team ever to make the NRL finals after opening a season with six straight defeats.

    Coach Brad Arthur is refusing to panic despite the Eels' disastrous start, the worst since South Sydney endured a similarly dire beginning to their doomed 2008 campaign.

    Parramatta's listless 18-2 loss to Canberra on Saturday also means the Eels' 46 points scored across the first six rounds are the fewest at that stage in the club's 71-year existence.

    "I'm frustrated and disappointed like everybody else," Sterling said on The Sunday Footy Show on the Nine Network.

    "I had them in my top four. I thought based on last year that they were even going to be better this year.

    "Look, they are far from a confident football team. There's absolutely no doubt about that. Their body language tells us that."

    But the four-time premiership-winning halfback isn't prepared to write the Eels off just yet.

    Sterling urged Arthur's side to up the urgency and variety in a bid to revive their season.

    "They can defy history," he said.

    "No side (starting) 0 and six has ever played finals football.

    "There's your challenge right there now and it starts next week against the side who put on 54 against them a couple of weeks ago and that's the Manly club.

    "The ball's in their court.

    "The only thing that gets you out of these situations is hard work."

    Despite the grim statistics for a team that finished fourth on the ladder last year, Arthur agreed the Eels were simply down on confidence.

    He left the door open for changes to the side to face Manly next Sunday at ANZ Stadium - barely a month after falling 54-0 to the Sea Eagles in round two.

    "We'll look at the (Canberra) game again, but we won't make any rash decisions," Arthur said.

    "We've got no choice but to get up and go again next week.

    "The effort was great and we're trying really hard but it's not good enough to win NRL games."

    Parramatta's defensive efforts continue to please Arthur as they made 80 more tackles than the Raiders, but he says there is no quick fix to their attacking woes.

    "We keep shooting ourselves in the foot with ill-discipline with penalties.

    "We're just down on confidence and bounce of the ball is not going away and we can't scrounge a try at the moment, which is not great for our confidence.

    "They're having a real crack and the effort's there, but winning is a habit and unfortunately so is losing."

    The only real positive to come out of the match was fullback Clint Gutherson's accomplished return from an ACL injury, with Arthur praising the way the 23-year-old handled himself.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity


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